The perfect party is a work of art. If host or hostess is your middle name, then any upcoming parties of yours are probably not your first rodeo. Veterans and newbies alike can all benefit from this complete party planning checklist. This way, you know what to do and when to do it. Think of it as a wedding countdown–just not as extreme. So keep reading this ultimate guide to party planning.
Three weeks before
Start with your invite list. Make a list of everyone you’d like to invite. If it’s a family-centered gathering, you’ll have a set number of people who could attend. If, however, you’re planning a large event, like a cocktail party, invite 20% more people than you have room for. Not everyone will be able to come, and you’ll still look festive. Then, decide on a theme if you’re going for one. Get your invitations ordered, stuffed, and sent. Plan the menu, and–if it is a big party–hire any help you may need to pull it off.
Two weeks before
There’s not as much you can do here as you wait for people to RSVP. It is, however, not too early to do some of the shopping. If you’re doing the cooking yourself and not hiring a caterer, head to the grocery store, chop, and simmer, and then freeze as many things ahead of time as you can. You can also use this time to create a playlist and clean, clean, clean.
One week before
Clean some more. Take some time to rearrange your furniture if the event is a large one. Stock the bar, and make sure you have enough dishes.
Three days before
Decorate. Have fun. Go through your house and remove personal items your guests might find that you’d rather keep private, like the contents of your medicine cabinet. Also, let your neighbors know about the party in advance, especially if your guests will be hogging street parking.
The day before
Finish your shopping, and do as much of the cooking as you can. This is also the perfect day to make any desserts since most desserts will keep well overnight in the fridge. If you’re planning an elaborate cake, make it easier on yourself with a cake turntable. This is also the day to buy flowers if you’re having them.
The day of
Once the day of the party has arrived, finish that last bit of cooking! Arrange and place the food, napkins, dishes, and alcohol from Saucey in convenient locations that are easy to get to, and have room for a small line. Then, once your guests arrive, relax! While you still need to play host or hostess throughout the night, this part is the most fun, so enjoy every bit of it.